There is no other way to say it: it is hot in Texas this summer.
Let's take Sunday, July 22, when the temperature in Austin reached about 105. Electricity use in ERCOT, the competitive portion of Texas’ electricity market covering about 80 percent of Texans, topped out at about 71,444 megawatts. The available capacity, or supply, of electricity was about 73,200 megawatts. In other words, Texas reached about 97.5% of capacity. Though there were still some resources available that didn’t come online that provided additional headroom.
When the demand peaked about 6 pm on the 22nd, the wind was producing about 3,199 megawatts, or about 4.5% of demand. As opposed to 1:a.m. that morning, when wind produced 11,505 megawatts, or about 22.5% percent of the 51,059 megawatts of demand.
Supporters of wind energy would note that the 4.5% of demand that wind provided that day was greater than the 2.5% reserve margin we reached. However, that small boost to capacity came at great cost to consumers and taxpayers: $13 billion worth of subsidies for renewables in Texas over the last 12 years. Texas could have built a number of gas turbine generators for far less than that that would actually provide reliable and affordable energy when we need it.
The bottom line? When the wind blows we don't need it, and when we need it, the wind doesn't blow.